Let's assume that there are multiple agents inside of me that tell me “hey, that might be a good idea” or “don't do that”. Let's further assume that one of these can be labeled “Reason” (corresponding to an almost totally unbiased—but also rote and uninsightful—analysis of the facts as presented to it by other parts of me) and that another can be labeled “Social Emotion” (corresponding to judgments of how other people might view certain actions and attitudes of mine).
I think my Social Emotion agent is incredibly buggy. This was manifested this evening, when I was sitting at home, alone and pretty bored. Even though I've been putting quite a bit of effort into making my space livable lately, and doing a passably good job of it, I really wanted to get out of the house. I wished Mark was online, so I could ask him if it was okay to come over to his place, but he wasn't. Then katieboyd posted to DPB asking if anyone was interested in coming over to watch a movie. I immediately sized up the situation: here was a clear opportunity for me to benefit, but as Katie said in her email, it was 6:20 on a Saturday, so it was unlikely that many people would see it. Reason said “hey dumbass, here's a chance to solve your problem”, but at the same time, Social Emotion said “you don't want to seem desperate, like you have nothing to do on a Saturday evening, do you?” Which is idiotic, because, I didn't have anything to do on a Saturday evening. I don't do much of anything most Saturday evenings, actually. Sometimes I'm okay with that, sometimes I'm not.
Anyway, I eventually got the best of myself and called Katie (I'm still kind of afraid of calling people I don't know that well; that was more than half the battle, actually), and even though I was right about the lack of other people, it was no big deal. I went over to her place and we talked for a bit, I had a beer, we walked over to an Indian restaurant and got takeout, then went back and watched Ghost in the Shell, and I drove home. We both had a good time.
Being too nervous to ask anyone to do anything—and, as a result, staying home, lonely and bored—is a pattern I've experienced many times before. It's possible that a high amount of experience not being rejected—and of being rejected and having that be no big deal, either—would train me out of this, but a little won't. I know this because if it would, it already would have. This problem is disturbing because, although I can always just ignore Social Emotion entirely, there is such a thing as being desperate or too demanding, and by ignoring it, I lose my ability to detect that.
Alcohol can sometimes actually make Social Emotion more prominent, but usually it gets shut off. See, the thing is that even though at a low level I believe that people will reject me, at an even lower level I believe that they would be idiots to do so. :-) Sometimes I can get into a flow, where everything is going fine and I'm not worried at all. Need to learn how to sustain that state. Need to learn to deal with problems without leaving it.
Oh, and the user icon for this post was made about an hour ago.